In an unorthodox attempt to stem violence against women and girls, officials in Mumbai are considering a measure that would prohibit retailers from displaying scantily clad mannequins. But the plan is being met with derision and even hostility from critics on social media, where many users say it will do nothing to quell India’s widespread epidemic of rape.
“This is ridiculous! Keep the culture of victim blaming,” one user tweeted.
According to the AP, members of Mumbai’s municipal council have overwhelmingly passed the resolution, which follows a rash of high-profile rape cases throughout India, including the case of a student who died in December after being brutally gang-raped on a bus in Delhi. That incident spurred worldwide attention to the issue, and Indians have since been calling for stronger protections for women and girls.
But so far little has changed. Just this Tuesday, several media outlets reported that an American woman was assaulted and raped by three men in the northern province of Himachal Pradesh, about 300 miles north of New Delhi.
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Ritu Tawde, a Mumbai city council member, told AP that mannequins that display lingerie and other skimpy clothing denigrate women and could provoke men to attack them. But critics say such thinking only perpetuates the long-held stereotype that women who wear revealing clothing bring sexual assault on themselves.
The problem is MEN not mannequins! SMH 'Mumbai considers banning mannequins displaying lingerie to curb rape' yhoo.it/10NSKJj
â€” Sally Idwedar (@sallyidwedar) June 4, 2013
Other users took to Twitter Tuesday to offer a dose of snark on the issue.
â€” Jeff D (@nevertweety) June 4, 2013
â€” Kevin Kindred (@kevinkindred) June 4, 2013
Still others, in particular feminists and advocates for women’s rights, were downright hostile toward the idea.
â€” Stop The WarOnWomen (@StopTheWOW) June 4, 2013
â€” Danielle Paradis (@DaniParadis) June 4, 2013
According to statistics from India’s National Crime Records Bureau, rape cases more than doubled in the country between 1990 and 2008. Women were victims in 228,650 out of the 256,329 violent crimes reported in India in 2011. According to experts cited by Rupee News, nine out of 10 rapes in India go unreported.